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Mk2 Mixture

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RichmondCommu

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G'day everyone,

Many years after the final air conditioned Mk2's had been introduced I can remember trains having a mixture of air con and none air con Mk2's, even on WCML expresses. Was there ever any attempt to run fixed rakes of Mk2 d,e and f's on long distance services into Euston (and for that matter other London termini) or was it simply a case of depot managers not thinking it was worth the trouble?

Your thoughts / memories would be much appreciated!

Kind regards,

Richmond Commuter!
 
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edwin_m

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The WCML London services circa 1980 tended to be all Mk2 aircons on West Midlands and all Mk3 on Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow, except for the Mk1 buffet cars (later replaced by Mk3 on all the rakes) and usually a Mk1 BG (replaced by DVTs). The CrossCountry rakes that split/joined at Carstairs seemed to be much more mixed, until the advent of the short Mk2 sets in the 90s.
 
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Merthyr Imp

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Back in the 1970s I would have said fixed rakes of all Mk 2d, e & f stock were the rule rather than the exception on most main routes into London. Certainly into St Pancras and King's Cross. There would however be a Mk 1 catering vehicle in the middle and possibly a Mk 1 or early Mk 2 brake at the end.
 

Helvellyn

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The WCML London services circa 1980 tended to be all Mk2 aircons on West Midlands and all Mk3 on Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow, except for the Mk1 buffet cars (later replaced by Mk3 on all the rakes) and usually a Mk1 BG (replaced by DVTs). The CrossCountry rakes that split/joined at Carstairs seemed to be much more mixed, until the advent of the short Mk2 sets in the 90s.
My recollection of the Anglo-Scottish CrossCountry rakes was that the Sussex Scot (Glasgow/Edinburgh-Brighton; Eastbourne on Summer Saturdays), Wessex Scot (Glasgow/Edinburgh-Poole), Devon Scot (Glasgow/Aberdeen-Plymouth) and Cornish Scot (Glasgow/Edinburgh-Penzance) had Mk 1 BGs and RBRs, Mk 2D/2E TSOs and either Mk 2D BFKs or FKs. The exception was the Glasgow/Edinburgh-Paignton service that was formed with Mk 2C TSOs and BFKs - I can't recall if this ran all year round or was a Summer only service.

The Colwich accident in 1986 seemed to hurt the West Coast fleet, with half a dozen air-conditioned coaches written off. Some SOs made it into rakes. Then the late arrival of the 158s (delaying the release of the Mk 3 from the Edinburgh-Glasgow services) saw some odd vehicles drafted into West Coast services. I recall for a few months a regular Euston-Carlisle diagram seemed to have a couple of Mk 1 TSOs included in the rake - even getting the red 'dogger' seat covers.

In the late 1980s/early 1990s there were also the West Coast 'relief' sets that had two Mk 2F TSOs, a Mk 1 RMB, 5 Mk 2C TSOs and a Mk 2C/2D/2E BSO.
 

Springs Branch

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Back in the 1970s I would have said fixed rakes of all Mk 2d, e & f stock were the rule rather than the exception on most main routes into London……….
I remember the mixed Mk2 rakes on the WCML in the 1970s and travelled on them quite a bit.

After electrification through to Glasgow in 1974, the daytime InterCity services on the southern WCML were revised into a reasonably standard hourly pattern (which was very different to today’s arrangements, as might be expected). The standard of the rolling stock allocated to various routes seemed to fall into these categories:-

1) Euston – Manchester/Liverpool/Glasgow
These were the WCML’s premier services and had the newest rolling stock – the first to get the airconditioned Mk2 and subsequently the first with loco-hauled Mk3s.
As I recall, these formations were generally the most consistent and homogeneous – so once the Mk2d-f appeared, these trains were made up with almost all of the same type.
Euston – Birmingham/Wolves trains most probably were included in this category too, but I’m not sure whether or not these interworked with Liverpool/Manchester/Glasgow sets back in the 1970s.

2) Euston – North Wales/Blackpool/Carlisle
These were second-tier InterCity services, serving more intermediate stops along the WCML and equipped with slightly older rolling stock. As the airconditioned Mk2 and later the Mk3 were delivered for the flagship routes, the previous generations of carriages were cascaded down to the “Lancashire” trains (and probably also went to other routes like the MML).

3) Birmingham/Liverpool/Manchester – Glasgow/Edinburgh
Many of these trains divided or combined at Carstairs and Preston. After the 1974 electrification they were formed of mixtures of Mk1 and early Mk2a-c, evolving over time into mixtures of any type of Mk2 (aircon or non-aircon). David Flitcroft’s website has photos showing typical examples of these workings on the northern WCML during the 1970s. Obviously the "portion" sets never worked into Euston.

The stock for trains which divided and combined en route could look a bit of a dog’s breakfast on account of the need to provide guard’s vans and First Class in each portion. For example there might be a BFK stuck right in the middle of the train with another First Class carriage somewhere else (rather than all together neatly at the London end), or a Buffet Car away from its normal position in the centre of the train – I remember once seeing a Manchester portion with the Buffet as the last vehicle, which looked quite odd.

4) Oddballs, relief trains, summer Saturdays etc.
These operated outside the standard daytime clockface pattern and stock could be an unpredictable combination of Mk1 and early Mk2.


Maybe it was category (2), the Euston–Blackpool/Carlisle/North Wales trains which prompted the OP’s question.

I travelled on these quite a lot in the mid to late 1970s, as they provided the regular London services from places like Lancaster, Wigan or Warrington (most of the London/Glasgow “Electric Scots” only stopped at Preston & Carlisle).

I recall the Blackpool and Carlisle trains could be made up from quite a mixture of stock – some aircon Mk2, some non-aircon Mk2, combined with the inevitable Mk1 BG and Buffet Car – as seen in this example.

The overall external appearance of the carriages could look a hotch-potch of old and new, because of the combination of different bodyside profiles of Mk1 and Mk2 and opening and sealed/tinted windows. At least everything was painted a consistent blue and grey in those days.

After the Mk3s appeared in force from the late 1970s and into the 80s, the Euston – North West rakes became almost all Mk2d-f, but it was not unusual to find an older Mk2 or two stuck somewhere in the formation. For example this picture, where the 5th coach is a non-aircon version.


87020 Carlisle [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], by Phil Sangwell (87020 Carlisle), from Wikimedia Commons


Sometimes an extra non-aircon BSO was added at one end of a train of otherwise airconditioned Mk2s – presumably when extra van space was needed, which meant a 13-coach load in Mk2 days.

If the extra BSO was marshalled the “wrong way” (with the van half facing the main body of the train, as in the examples here and here) it could work to one’s advantage in getting a seat on a busy service, or a bay of four to yourself at quieter times. “Normals” tended to look at the guard’s van and not realise there was an extra half-coach of seating available beyond it.

Similarly, once on board, if passengers were walking through a busy train trying to find a seat, they would give up when they got to the first guard’s van. It was always worth walking up to the front of a northbound train at Euston, as you were usually guaranteed a peaceful and uncrowded trip if you were lucky and this had occurred.
 
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kermit

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Did all Mk 1s on these trains have ETH? Or did some have through wiring?
 

Cowley

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It's interesting reading the above posts, I remember in Exeter that a lot of cross country trains seemed to be the same formations every day. Sometimes a Glasgow/Edinburgh train would come in and the whole train would be aircons except for the rear three coaches which were mk2s with opening windows (mk2b? Not sure). There was also just one mk2 aircon which used to turn up, 5813 I think, that was in Scotrail livery and I wonder if this was a result of the Colwich accident that Helvellyn mentioned earlier?
There was also a cross country train that went to Plymouth on I think summer weekday evenings around 1988 that was formed of aircons but had a mk1 rmb as the second coach (first coach I think was 1st class), I'm not sure now where it came from but it was a bit of a favourite with us bashers for a rattle along the sea wall with the windows open on a sunny evening :)
 
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ac6000cw

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Did all Mk 1s on these trains have ETH? Or did some have through wiring?

As far as I know, they were all ETH fitted.

BR retro-fitted quite a lot of Mk1 stock with ETH, so they became 'dual-heat' (steam and electric) capable. This allowed e.g. North-West - South-West trains via Birmingham to be hauled by steam-heat only class 45/46 diesel locos south of Birmingham and ETH only electric locos north of there.

Springs Branch has summarised the WCML situation in the 1970/80s very well.
 

MarlowDonkey

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I can remember trains having a mixture of air con and none air con Mk2's, even on WCML expresses.

I was commuting into Paddington in the late 1970s. Before they had HSTs going to Exeter and Plymouth, the formations of West of England trains emulated the HSTs. So they would have two first class coaches, perhaps five second class. These would have been the air con Mk2s so similar in look and feel to HSTs. There was invariably a Mk1 Buffet between the first and second class coaches. Brake facilities were often a full luggage van.

After the through Henley services were discontinued, one of the later commuter services to Maidenhead and Twyford was formed from the stock used earlier in the day on the Cornish Riviera.
 

30907

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I remember the mixed Mk2 rakes on the WCML in the 1970s and travelled on them quite a bit.

After electrification through to Glasgow in 1974, the daytime InterCity services on the southern WCML were revised into a reasonably standard hourly pattern (which was very different to today’s arrangements, as might be expected). The standard of the rolling stock allocated to various routes seemed to fall into these categories:-

1) Euston – Manchester/Liverpool/Glasgow
These were the WCML’s premier services and had the newest rolling stock – the first to get the airconditioned Mk2 and subsequently the first with loco-hauled Mk3s.
As I recall, these formations were generally the most consistent and homogeneous – so once the Mk2d-f appeared, these trains were made up with almost all of the same type.
Euston – Birmingham/Wolves trains most probably were included in this category too, but I’m not sure whether or not these interworked with Liverpool/Manchester/Glasgow sets back in the 1970s.

From around 1975 (when I had friends living by the WCML in Kings Langley) the West Midlands sets were consistently Mk2a/c and had a standard formation (sorry, can't remember what - something like 4 first, restaurant, 6 second, BG). A Mk 3 set worked up from Brum on a non standard timing around 0730 (was it called Bham Exec or something?) and formed the down Royal Scottish at 0945 (?).

IIRC there was a Manchester-Glasgow Mk 3 set early morning as well, which formed the 1210 (?) to Euston.

Can't remember the other trains involved but obviously there must have been balancing workings.
 
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edwin_m

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If they didn't have ETH they wouldn't have had any heating, as I don't think Class 86s, and certainly not Class 87s, provided steam heating.

None of the AC electrics had steam boilers. If I recall correctly most Mk1s were only steam heated but those built originally for the WCML were dual heated. All non-aircon Mk2s with a few odd exceptions were dual-heated.

Brakes were probably a more important issue. All the Mk1s and Mk2zs were vacuum braked but air brake was adopted for Mk2a onwards, so any Mk1 to run with the new stock had to be converted to air brake or dual fitted. The WCML Pullman rakes were basically early Mk2s but with aircon, and had vacuum brakes for their entire time in front-line service though some were converted to air brakes for charter use. As for locomotives, classes 81-85 were vacuum braked but later had air brakes added, 86 were dual brake from new and 87 were air brake only.
 
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Springs Branch

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IIRC there was a Manchester-Glasgow Mk 3 set early morning as well, which formed the 1210 (?) to Euston.

Can't remember the other trains involved but obviously there must have been balancing workings.
Around 1975/76 the first Liverpool & Manchester to Glasgow & Edinburgh services of the day ran as two separate trains, as did the last from G&E to M&L in the evening

The through services were Manchester/Glasgow and Liverpool/Edinburgh, timed for cross-platform interchanges at Preston (during the diesel/electric loco changeover) and running quite close together along the northern WCML.

The morning Manchester Vic-Glasgow and the evening Glasgow-Manchester Vic both interworked with Euston services at Glasgow Central and were formed of the latest airconditioned coaches. I remember my first trip on the evening train from Glasgow to Manchester in 1976. Before boarding I was suspicious the departure indicator must be wrong, since surely a full rake of brand-new Mk3s could not be going to Manchester Victoria!

According to the WTT for that period, on arrival at Manchester Vic. the empty stock went to Longsight for servicing. The ECS move was a drag back to Ordsall Lane Jn (this was pre-Windsor Link & Salford Crescent), then via Castlefield Jn and Oxford Road to Longsight.
Fresh stock for the morning's northbound departure came back from Longsight the same way around 0200, then was held in Red Bank Carriage Sidings until time to go back to Victoria for the 0753 departure to Glasgow.

None of these particular services seemed to load well enough to justify separate trains, and by the late 70s they were combined into one train splitting at Carstairs and Preston. For a time though, it worked out well for me because BR began to offer cheap promotional Day Returns from Wigan & Bolton to Glasgow and Edinburgh to try to fill all those empty seats. This facilitated several economical rides over Shap & Beattock for days out trainspotting north of the border in the hot & dry summer of 1976.
 
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ac6000cw

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None of the AC electrics had steam boilers.

That was definitely one of BR's better decisions.

I assume that the 'Woodhead' EM2 passenger locos had steam heat boilers - did any of the early Southern electric locos have boilers ?
 

Springs Branch

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I assume that the 'Woodhead' EM2 passenger locos had steam heat boilers - did any of the early Southern electric locos have boilers ?
I believe the Southern Region modified carriages to have Electric Train Heating at the time the Class 71, 73 etc were introduced in the early 1960s. So these locos had a ETH supply rather than steam heating boilers.

The EM2s, on the other hand, had electrically-powered steam-heat boilers.
Steam-heat boilers were also installed into fourteen EM1 Class 76s (76 020, 76 046-76 057 and the original E26000 "Tommy") for operation of Manchester/Sheffield trains during the few years between withdrawal of the EM2 / Class 77 and the end of passenger services via Woodhead.

I read somewhere that the steam-heating boilers on the Woodhead locos (powered by a giant 1500V immersion heater) were much more reliable than the contemporary boilers fitted to diesel locos, which apparently operated by burning diesel fuel.
 
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Taunton

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The Southern tried to give up steam heat completely from the end of steam locos, and the Class 33 were not fitted with steam boilers (part of why they were more powerful than the otherwise similar-looking Class 27 from the same manufacturer, absence of the boiler meant there was space and weight to allow a larger Sulzer diesel). They therefore converted their Mk 1 coaching stock fleet to electric heat. This was part of why, when the WofE main line changed over from steam to Warship diesels, the coaching stock now came from the WR.

Starting about 1960 a lot of Mk 1 stock was also built with dual heat capability as the WCML electrification was coming on stream. There were some steam heat boiler vans also provided at first, converted from old LMS BG's it appeared, which could be marshalled behind the electric loco, as there initially wasn't enough electric heat stock to go round. These were likely used more on inter-regional services with other region's stock on Manchester to Crewe legs than on mainstream WCML runs.

However the key compatibility aspect was air brakes, introduced from Mk 2a in 1967. Unlike locomotives, there was very little dual braked stock provided, it was either vacuum or air. Because no Mk 2 catering vehicles or full brakes were produced there was a major conversion programme of these to air brake, but Mk 1 seating vehicles were left pretty much untouched.

I believe the pioneer Southern electric locos 20001-3 did have steam boilers, I seem to recall a magazine photo of the period of one very substantially blowing off, but the Class 71 didn't.

The 1966 Pullmans were indeed vacuum braked, being built shortly before the air brake transition, and the Liverpool service, which was half 1st class Pullman, half 2nd class normal stock, had to stay with original Mk 2 vacuum braked, non-air conditioned stock for second class long after this was generally replaced on the WCML.

The WR was late with air braking. None of the Warship diesels were converted, and the Westerns only in penny numbers at a time, the whole fleet was not done, and the hydraulics of course were never fitted with ETH so could not handle AC stock at all. It was this issue over others that led to the final elimination of the Westerns.
 
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Springs Branch

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These complex machinations around transitioning from steam-heat to ETH, and vacuum to air-braked rolling stock are quite fascinating. Previously I hadn’t thought through all the details of “Southern Region needed to do this, but the Western couldn’t do that” and “getting Mk1 coaches to work with Mk2d sets”, but it’s obviously an intricate jigsaw with some inconvenient consequences if something was overlooked.

Are there any good books which chart the evolution of BR passenger stock? – I’m sure there must be at least one definitive work.
 

ac6000cw

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I believe the pioneer Southern electric locos 20001-3 did have steam boilers, I seem to recall a magazine photo of the period of one very substantially blowing off, but the Class 71 didn't.

Thanks - it was 20001-3 I was thinking about.

As well as the unreliability of the diesel-burning boilers (and the need to have a second-man to look after them), it also meant having a water tank on the loco which reduced the space available for the fuel tank. After steam heat was phased out there were some 'long range' fuel tank conversions done, utilising the space occupied by the former water tanks (or the actual tanks themselves?).
 

Taunton

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Steam heat as implemented on British diesels was a thorough nuisance, significantly due to the whole installation being very much on the cheap. The concept was taken from US diesels which had used (quite successfully) steam generators ever since mainstream diesels came along there in the 1930s. In fact the US used it a lot more, because it was in use 12 months of the year as the air conditioning, pretty universal on new vehicles from the 1930s in the US, was also steam powered.

Steam heat problems on diesels were many; notably most of them didn't apply to steam locos providing steam heat. They included

- Big problems at 1 October start of heating season with items not used for months.
- Water frozen in winter.
- Running out of water.
- Water tank develops leak due to poor design/construction.
- Need to have pumps for both fuel and water, which would fail (or stick open).
- Boiler burner clogged doe to poor quality BR fuel.
- Pipework comes apart at joints due to vibration in running.
- Burner goes out during running.
- Insufficient training for firemen in fault handling.
- Insufficient training for fitters.
 

edwin_m

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Steam heat as implemented on British diesels was a thorough nuisance, significantly due to the whole installation being very much on the cheap. The concept was taken from US diesels which had used (quite successfully) steam generators ever since mainstream diesels came along there in the 1930s. In fact the US used it a lot more, because it was in use 12 months of the year as the air conditioning, pretty universal on new vehicles from the 1930s in the US, was also steam powered.

Steam heat problems on diesels were many; notably most of them didn't apply to steam locos providing steam heat. They included

- Big problems at 1 October start of heating season with items not used for months.
- Water frozen in winter.
- Running out of water.
- Water tank develops leak due to poor design/construction.
- Need to have pumps for both fuel and water, which would fail (or stick open).
- Boiler burner clogged doe to poor quality BR fuel.
- Pipework comes apart at joints due to vibration in running.
- Burner goes out during running.
- Insufficient training for firemen in fault handling.
- Insufficient training for fitters.

Interesting. But I'm rather glad BR didn't go for steam-powered air conditioning.
 

Taunton

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Steam AC worked well for USA railroads from the 1930s to 1980s, including under steam loco haulage of course. It was only in the final years that it became unreliable, presumably lack of maintenance.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_jet_cooling

It's predecessor from about 1890 was more amazing, large compartments under the car between the bogies which were filled at points along the line (especially through the deserts in the west) with tons of ice, and fans which blew air over this and through ducts up into the car. The ice melted and drained down to the track between the wheels. Salt was sometimes added to make the ice melt faster and thus the air cooler (refer to GCSE Physics and "latent heat" if you need to). About every 2 hours, where the train stopped anyway for steam loco servicing purposes, there were "icing stations" alongside the track that generated and replenished the ice. It wasn't only used for passenger services, the refrigerated fruit/vegetable trains from California to the east across the desert used these facilities as well.
 
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randyrippley

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This was part of why, when the WofE main line changed over from steam to Warship diesels, the coaching stock now came from the WR.
I rode several times behind the Warships in the last few years before the 33s took over, and my memory is that the coaches all had dual heat controls, though obviously only steam was working.
However just around the time of the changeover I remember one sunday trip doubleheaded with a Hymek leading a 33. As far as I can remember the Hymek provided the power, the 33 heated the train.
 

Taunton

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I'm sure there were plenty of dual heat vehicles around, because that had been the BR standard since about 1960. But the SR uniquely went for electric heat only. I understand they were not standard BR electric either, but an enhanced version to UIC standard to suit inter-working with French etc vehicles which came over by the Dover ferry, and which the SR standardised on.

When the Warships on the SR WofE were supplanted by the Class 33 there was presumably a reverse operation to get the stock all ETH capable. One of the, possibly unplanned, upsides of the Class 33 ETH controls was that it could be turned off at the drivers' desk to get some extra Amps for the traction motors. In winter, on the long upgrades of this line, it would be heat on into Axminster, then off for the storm up Honiton Bank, back on once over the top. Couldn't do that with a Warship!

Mixed Class 33/others double heading to suit heating fit of the stock was a regular feature, when new the LMR also lent the SR several Class 24 Sulzers which operated double-headed, one of each, to suit how the stock was heated.
 
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